Oak Creek-based Black Bear Bottling to close permanently, 76 to lose jobs

Posted at 2:16 PM, Jul 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 13:27:10-04
Black Bear Bottling Group LLC is filing for receivership, and will close and permanently cease operations this fall, according to a notice filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
As a result, all 76 employees will be terminated permanently, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported Wednesday.
Oak Creek-based Black Bear Bottling, located at 2025 S. Branch Boulevard, will officially close on Sept. 17.
The beverage production and bottling company has been in business since 1920 and has been operated by the Caruso family since 1961.
According to documents filed with the Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, the company had debts totaling more than $10 million. Assets include $6.8 million in fixed assets, including machinery and equipment, but the “fair value” is “significantly less than the book value of those assets.”
In the company’s letter to the DWD, attorney Seth Dizard, a court appointed Chapter 128 receiver, said the company has been placed into receivership by Court Order.
Black Bear Bottling invested $5.5 million in 2014 and 2015 in a plant overhaul that added 80,000 square feet of production and warehouse space, one new bottling line and an off-site warehouse.